Architects of a New Dawn

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Youth Delegates to the United Nations


Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the UN's agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations has been through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country's official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions.

The role of a youth representative varies from country to country. One focus of a youth delegate’s work is in the Third Committee, the part of the General Assembly that deliberates on Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Issues. In past instances, youth delegates have delivered statements on issues of concern to young people in the Third Committee.

Youth delegates for 2004

How to become a youth delegate

Some countries have existing programmes to select youth delegates. You can determine this by looking at the list of former youth delegates of previous years. If your country does not have a programme in place to select a youth delegate, your task will be two-fold:

  • First, you have to convince your country on the importance of having a youth representative in its delegation to the UN General Assembly.
  • And secondly, once they've established the position, you will have to initiate a selection process.

Some steps you may consider include:

  • Determine whether or not your country currently has a youth representative programme. If it does, inquire through your department of foreign affairs or a national youth council about how the application process works.
  • If your country does not currently have a youth representative programme, you will have to lobby to have one created. This can be done most effectively by working in cooperation with existing youth organizations in your country.
  • Sometimes the process may work very quickly, and sometimes it may take a greater effort to have youth delegates become part of government policy.
  • Some steps you might take would include:
    • Write to your minister of foreign affairs (or equivalent), outline the merits of youth delegates, and offer to meet to discuss it further.
    • Contact the Minister for Youth (or equivalent), senior public servants, the Ambassador to the UN, or even the Head of State.
    • You might also try to get letters of endorsement from all of the above, plus key civil society leaders, national and international.
  • After the proposal has been accepted, and a nomination and selection procedure established, the next step would be to apply for the position.

Related resources:

* Contributions from youth delegates and others.

Meet former youth delegates

63rd Session of the General Assembly, 2008
16th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, 2008
46th Session of the Commission for Social Development, 2008
62nd Session of the General Assembly, 2007
45th Session of the Commission for Social Development, 2007
61st Session of the General Assembly, 2006
60th Session of the General Assembly, 2005
59th Session of the General Assembly, 2004
58th Session of the General Assembly, 2003
57th Session of the General Assembly, 2002
56th Session of the General Assembly, 2001
55th Session of the General Assembly, 2000

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